Hello, and welcome to another edition of Ten Potentially True Facts! Today we present some choice, fresh, hot off the grill facts about this week's opponent, the Mississippi State Bulldogs!
- Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen enters Saturday's contest with a career record of 31-24. He is also 2-1 in bowl games. However Mullen is only 13-20 in SEC games, has multiple victories over only one SEC West opponent (Ole Miss), and won only five SEC West games total. Dan Mullen actually breathes mediocrity, and if you poke him hard enough mayonnaise will shoot out of his body.
- The Bulldogs' best-known tradition is their use of cowbells, which their supporters ring between downs. This tradition hearkens back to Mississippi State's agricultural roots and legend has it that it began in the 1930s or 1940s when a cow wandered onto the field at a football game. No really, that's the legend.
- Strange things happen in Starkville. Very strange things. This is described as "slightly odd, but par for the course" by locals.
- Former LSU baseball coach and athletic director Skip Bertman once remarked that "Starkville" is an Indian word for "trailer park." While Skip is not very well-versed in the classics (Starkville is obviously French), he did manage to offend the National Trailer Park Owners Association of America (NTPOAA). In a formal letter the NTPOAA asked Bertman for an apology, stating that "people who own houses with wheels are smart and left that place long ago."
- Mississippi State's live mascot, Bully, is the lesser known of the SEC's bulldogs. While Bully appears to be more fit than his counterpart at the University of Georgia, he also appears to have some weird sort of bondage fetish. (safe for work, I promise)
- The Bulldogs engage in a tradition prior to kickoffs known as the "Dawg Pound Rock," a team dance to the Baha Men's 2000 hit "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Mississippi State credits themselves for using the Baha Men's hit first at a sporting event, starting a trend at sporting venues worldwide which was tantamount to releasing rats infested with bubonic plague in European port cities. Thanks a lot, guys!
- Whenever Dan Mullen makes this face, the only sound he makes is "CLANGA CLANGA CLANGA CLANGA CLANGA CLANGA CLANGA." He does this without moving his lips, and yes, that look in his eyes means he can see into your soul. Don't worry, no matter what he sees, he's praying for you.
- Mississippi State's uniforms have looked a lot different in recent years. Bulldog athletic director Scott Stricklin got the idea for these new uniforms after seeing a mural that Dan Mullen painted on the side of Davis Wade Stadium while under the influence of a case of Bud Heavy and copious amounts of mescaline.
- The Bulldogs won their only SEC Western Division title in 1998, when they finished 8-5 (6-2 SEC). Mississippi State then faced Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game, where they blew a fourth quarter lead by allowing the Vols to score two late touchdowns in 32 seconds. Dan Mullen says that "he hopes the example of the 1998 team inspires excellence" in his 2013 squad, who have surpassed expectations by losing a big game late in the season's third week, rather than waiting until the postseason.
- LSU and Mississippi State are inexorably linked to each other through General Troy H. Middleton. Middleton earned his college degree at Mississippi State when it was known as Mississippi A&M. He later served at LSU as commandant of the ROTC and eventually university president. LSU's named its library in his honor, as did Mississippi State with its ROTC building. Since Middleton Library isn't quite as scenic the Middleton ROTC Building, I guess this is a win for Mississippi State.
As always, thank you for reading! If you're traveling to the game, remember that ear plugs are cheap, and that stealing someone's cowbell and beating them with it is two felonies, not one!